tv Commencement Address CSPAN June 2, 2013 12:15pm-12:31pm EDT
at night or in the rain and there is music in the background and i would come home to a dog in a giant loft that i could somehow miraculously afford and follow sleep. after those three minutes, i would be discovered by director who would cast me in a film and walk on the red carpet and my parents would give me the thumbs up. in the real world story of what happened when i decided to make a big bet on myself and take that chance to do this because it is what i loved, i was grinding away for a long time and i had no money. we would rehearse during the day and perform these little theaters at night for free. i was taking classes during the day and trying to learn improvisation. i eventually had to get out because i had no money. i put my degree from michigan to use rather than selling stuff at crate and barrel.
[laughter] i kept on improvising in chicago for many years. two lessons i learned -- we had this director that was instructing a class. 10 of us in the class. the guys are improvising that they are in a laundry mat. the scene ends. he asks all of us, what do you see on stage right now? there is nothing up there. it is an empty stage. he says, so far you guys have improvise you are in an apartment, a laundromat, and apartment. what are you afraid of? we looked at each other. what do you mean? he said, you need to make more courageous choices. even if the stages completely empty, you can go out there and
be in a keebler elf factory be an astronaut on the space shuttle. take courageous risk. a few months later, i was studying with another legendary director. steve carell was out on stage. he was improvising something and i thought of this amazing line. i thought, i have to get this line out. i get to the stage and i start to try moving the seat in the direction of what i wanted to say. he stops the scene. he says, you cannot plan a script. the beauty of improvisation is your experience in it in the moment. if you try to plan what the next line is supposed to be, you're going to be disappointed when the other people on stage with
you do not do or say what you want them to and you'll stand there frozen. be in this moment. be here in this moment. i continue to stay in chicago and improvise for many years. i got additions for shows and got none of them. fortunately during this time, the internet happened. that was great. i know it is funny to you. when i was your age, we do not have the internet in our pants. [laughter] we didn't even have it not in our pants. that's how bad it was.
i know i sound like my grandfather. we did not have teeth. [laughter] what was i talking about? the internet. i dove into the internet because it was the structure that had these amazing possibilities. i grade as sequence of companies over the course of the next 20 years that led me to twitter. if there is ever an example of the importance of making and focusing on what you love, it is twitter. when jack dorsey talks about the origins of his thinking for the product, he talks about his fascination with maps and his ultimate fascination with dispatch systems and more efficient way to get taxis and ambulances for where they need
to go. when he sent out his first tweet, he did not ran for president obama to declare victory on the platform and the 2012 election. none of us thought that our service would be a great alternative communication service if the mobile networks are spotty in the aftermath. we did not know that someone would use it to organize protests. here's the amazing thing about what i have observed. not only can you not ran the
impact you are going to have come you often will recognize it even when you're having it. a few months after being with twitter, the streets were completely blocked off. the u.s. secret service was there and russian security forces were there. it was a crazy scene walking into the building. i remember going into the metal detector to get into our office, which were there just for the day. there had these crazy uniforms and german shepherds that look like they could kill you. there is a huge buildup. the russian president came in with his entourage. there are reporters and cameras behind him.
he was going to send his first tweet from the office to the world. they were taking a tour of the office before sending the first tweet. being the thoughtful and charismatic leader i was, i said, it is, totally down? totally down. the next day, you guys and the rest of the world read president obama welcoming the russian president to twitter and declared we may not need the red phone anymore because we could use twitter. it is always like that.
the impact is what others frame for you and the world after it happens. the president is only what you are experiencing and focused on right now. every so often my past and present come together. i was invited to this fundraiser at a children's hospital in the bay area last year. steve carell was there. i showed the photos to him when i got a chance to talk with him. we got a chance to have a brief conversation. we looked at the photocopy of the review and talked about the
different people in the group and where they were. we kept in touch with some. he patted me on the back and said, i'm sorry it did not work out for you. [laughter] you cannot draw that path looking forward. you have to figure out what you love to do and what you have conviction about and go do that. so far you guys have gotten where you are by meeting and exceeding expectations. you are awesome. look at you. you look like an amazing, giant flyer. [laughter] but from here on out, you have to switch gears. there are no expectations. when you doing what you love to do, you become resilient because that is a habit you create for yourself. you create a habit of taking
chances on yourself and making bold choices in service to doing what you love. if on the other hand you do what you think is expected of you are what you are supposed to do and things go poorly or chaos ensues, you will look for external sources for what to do next. that will be the habit you have created for yourself. you'll be standing there frozen on the stage of your own life. if you are just a doing a, you will be blindsided. i do not feel like i can stand there and tell you to try to have an impact. the problem seems so massive, it seems impossible to make any impact at all and you end up
feeling like you cannot do anything. just thinking about it in iran and north korea, if you go through the list, and makes me want to sweat and not just because of this robe that does not seem to have natural fibers in it. [laughter] instead, what i implore you to do is see if you make courageous choices and bet on yourself and put yourself out there, you will have an impact as a result of what you do any do not need to know how that will happen because no one ever does. i would like to leave you with a metaphor of my early improv days.
you are here now and look at everything you have accomplished. it is remarkable. you are also amazing to me. i'm proud of everything you have done. as you get ready to walk out under the bright lights of improvisational stage of the rest of your life, i implore you to remember those two lessons i learned years ago -- be bold. make courageous choices for yourself. be in the keebler elf factory. what are you afraid of? do not always worry about what your next line is supposed to be. there is no script. live your life. be in this moment. be in this moment. now be in this moment. 20 years from now, you'll be
sitting in a different seat in the stadium. you will be lying in a field and looking up at the clouds and holding up a patient hand and you will be grading or evaluating a student's essay and you will be sitting on the sidelines of your daughter's soccer practice and sitting on the podium. be right there in that moment. soak all of it in. remember to say thank you. thank you #goblue. [cheers and applause] eplus by these as boxes instead >> the new school awarded nay award ind honorary a literature. he is a political pollster and creature of the538 blog. this is the team minutes.
most of all i want to thank you guys, the graduate, for having the fortitude to devote the past several years of your life to learning and pursuit of passion. i want to thank your parents, friends, family, teachers, faculty for helping make those streams possible. [applause] i need to warn the graduates that there are some people out there who do not hold you guys in the same highest teen that i do. one of them is jules stein, a columnist.eight he calls your generation "lazy, and title, selfish, shallow." what should we make of his claim? no doubt your generation will have to endorse and challenges. college gradua